Workplace health and safety is defined by World Health Organization and International Labor Organization as the advocacy and conservation of the highest level of social, physical and mental health of employees in all occupations. The workplace health and safety entails prevention of illnesses in workers that are as a result of their working conditions. It also safeguards staff in their place of work against risks caused by aspects unfavorable to health. In addition, workplace health and safety maintains and positions a worker in a working environment adjusted to his or her psychological and physiological condition.
Safety hazards are identified to occur in those occupational environments that can trigger the following:
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of eyesight
- Electric shock
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
The harm is generally in the form of violent or immediate nature, which is mainly connected to the physical environment or industrial equipment and includes a job function that needs care and training. Safety experts, therefore, emphasize that the term ‘safety’ constitutes the effect of noise on hearing, explosive nature of chemicals and co-causative aspect of illness.
Aspects of a Health and Safety Management System
Fundamental elements of a health and safety management system in a work environment must have the following:
- A well-defined health and safety organization. In such a case, there is a shared comprehension of the organization’s beliefs and values at all levels within a corporate.
- A clear plan that includes designing and implementation of performance processes and standards employing effective laws.
- An explicit policy that contributes to the business effectiveness and continual enhancement in a company.
- Measurement of performance that involves monitoring of active and reactive factors to establish the efficiency of a management system.
- Review of performance that is based on the results derived from monitoring and independent audits that are compared to the targets and objectives outlined in health and safety strategy.
Health and Safety Culture
Any work health and safety management system will collapse unless there is a positive health and safety culture within an organization. It comprises of:
- Commitment and leadership to health and safety in the entire organization.
- The determination of all important dangers posing a risk to employees and others.
- A health and safety policy statement defining short and long-term safety objectives.
- Paramount consultation and communication training programs and procedures for the staff in all organizational levels.
- An acknowledgment that high degrees of health and safety are attainable.
- Systems to monitor procedures, equipment and swift rectification of defects that occur.
- Rapid studies of all accidents and incidents as well as documentation of reports made outlining important remedial actions.
- A detailed analysis of health and safety risks that are present in an organization and design of suitable monitoring and control systems.
All these components of a management system need to be present for a successful management regardless of the system being used. Also, the involvement of the stakeholders, continual improvement, and effective audit complement and underpin a health and safety management system.